Rodrigues helps Rider split homestand

By Allie V. Riches 

Desperately looking for a win after losing two games last week to New Jersey Institute of Technology and Columbia, the women’s soccer team went up against Delaware State on Sept. 12 with a record of 2-2-1. 

The Broncs were able to fight through the rain and scored four goals in the first half.

“It always feels good to find the back of the net,” said senior midfielder Sofia Soares, who contributed a hat trick in the Delaware State game. “But it’s always good to make it as a team effort and enjoy it with the team.”

Sophomore midfielder Ailis Martin and freshman forward Makenzie Rodrigues also contributed by scoring three more goals for the Broncs. 

Delaware State was able to take advantage of a penalty kick in the second half, which was its only goal. Overall, Rider was able to win for the fifth straight year against Delaware State, 6-1. 

“Every win is good. No win is easy and this team can be tricky to play,” Head Coach Drayson Hounsome said. “I think it was good to get those goals in the first half. It opened up the game.”

The Broncs started the game off strong and ended with a fantastic finish. They made triangle formations that helped move the ball forward, which opened up opportunities for them to score. However, the team said there is always something to work on, even after a win.

“We are loud on the bench, but communication still needs to improve a bit,” Soares explained. “And we’ll get there. Everyone’s starting to be less shy and mesh again.”

Unfortunately, during the Delaware State game, sophomore forward Nikki Arrington, who had two goals through six games, rolled her ankle and was on crutches for the Temple game on Sept. 15. 

However, this didn’t stop the Broncs. Fighting through the heat, Rider was able to tie Temple 1-1 thanks to an equalizing goal in the 70th minute from Rodrigues. The game resulted in a draw after double overtime.

“I especially think in the first overtime period, we had a lot of chances where we probably should have put away [a goal] and would have put the end of the game there,” Rodrigues said. “So, we are looking to do that in the near future.”

Rodrigues was named the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC )Rookie of the Week on Sept. 16, the league announced.

Even though women’s soccer walked away from a successful week with a record of 3-2-2, Hounsome believed there was more it needed to work on before the start of MAAC play. 

“Work on finding more desperation when we’re fatigued,” Hounsome said. “We had a ton of corners, but we have got to work more on the execution and the timing of the runs and just the finishing inside the box.”

After the Temple game, Rodrigues, who scored her third goal that week, talked about the communication on the field.

“The team has settled in and we have gotten to know each other,” Rodrigues said, “There has been a good rhythm and flow on the team and more chances on goal.”

While the Broncs have not come out on top in every game, Hounsome was never disappointed in his team’s performance and is walking into MAAC play confident.

“We are very positive about where we are. [A] 3-2-2 [record] going into MAAC play. We have put in a good performance into every game,” Hounsome said. “There hasn’t been a performance where I have been disappointed.”

Rider will host its first MAAC game on Sept. 21 at 1 p.m. when it will face Siena at Ben Cohen Field followed by an away contest against Quinnipiac on Sept. 28.

Follow Allie Riches on Twitter for the latest on Rider women’s soccer.

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